Are We There Yet

A doubting Thomas is a skeptic who refuses to believe without direct personal experience.  This expression is derived from the apostle Thomas who refused to believe that Jesus was resurrected from the dead and had appeared to the other ten apostles, until he could see and feel the wounds received by Jesus on the cross.  Today our world is filled with propaganda, urban legends, scammers, disinformation, alternative facts that is known as “fake news”, so just because you can see and read something on the internet, that doesn’t mean that it can be trusted.  I feel that there is a line of demarcation between those people who question everything (the constant questioners) and those who are skeptical (people who are not easily convinced, those who have doubts or reservations) and this line lies in their intent.  The skeptic will take everything with a grain of salt, evaluating things while keeping in mind that it may not be completely true or accurate, typically due to the unreliability of the source, however their heart is set on rejection and disproving.  The constant questioner has a desire to learn and by asking questions, so they can make better judgments.  This type of person also enjoys engaging in conversation.

Humans are innately curious creatures and we look for reasons and causes that allow us to find answers for things that we see.  We question stuff all the time, so we can conclude what makes sense to us.  We are motivated by reason, logic, and fairness.  We make decisions for a proper course of action after we come to our own conclusions.  The more intellectually engaged humans will often do exhaustive research to obtain answers.  The constant questioner may be percieved as being overly curious to the point where they become a pest.

It is human nature to classify things into groups, because we use our brains to absorb information and we understand that information by grouping it.  Certain things fit nicely into groups and that is why we have nouns and verbs and apples and oranges, but people don’t always fit as they can reside on the line of demarcation that distinguishes them from being classified as a skeptic or a constant questioner, or they can waver to either side of this line depending on what day it is.

When I was in High School, before the days of the internet, I asked my Earth Space Science teacher, “How much does the Earth weigh?” With Google this search takes less than a second and it says 5.972 × 10^24 kg, or about 13,170,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 pounds.  Our Earth is much too big to be placed on a scale, so scientists use mathematics and the laws of gravity to figure out the Earth’s weight.  A much better question for me to ask would have been, “What is the mass of planet Earth?”, so my teacher explained the difference between mass and weight to me, with weight being the result of Earth’s gravitational pull on another object, and since the Earth cannot pull on itself, knowing Earth’s mass instead of weight is more appropriate.  I have always been curious and I just discovered that Earth is gaining weight!  At the present rate, Earth gains about 40,000 metric tons each year from space debris that bombards our planet, yet there is no reason for the Earth to go on a diet.

I believe that the constant questioner is different from the person who constantly asks questions like ‘are we there yet’, as it shows ignorance to keep asking the same question.  As Albert Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

Written for GC and Sue W Weekly Prompts where they have invited everyone to tell them if we are a constant questioner whose need for the facts goes beyond reason or do we know someone whose unreasonable interrogations tend to raise our blood pressure levels.

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